American Express (NYSE:AXP) and First Data have signed an agreement that will enable First Data to offer American Express Card acceptance as part of an integrated solution for small and midsize merchants.

The partnership, which will become effective in the second quarter of 2008, will allow American Express to retain the acceptance contract with participating merchants, establish merchant pricing, and continue to receive transactional information, while First Data will provide payment-processing services for American Express card transactions. The cost-effective all-in-one solution offers merchants a single source for statements, settlement and customer service for all major card brands.

"Through our relationship with American Express, merchants will benefit from a single payment for all major card transactions, consolidated statements, a single point of contact for all customer service, and a one stop shop for all their payment needs," Brian Mooney, president of First Data Merchant Services, said in a statement.

Published on: Dec 17, 2007